Saturday 10 December 2016

Taiwan president: I won't bow to Beijing

Published 10/10/2016 | 05:51

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen delivers a speech during National Day celebrations in Taipei (AP)
Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen delivers a speech during National Day celebrations in Taipei (AP)

Taiwan's new president has vowed her self-ruled island will not bow to pressure from Beijing and China should recognise her government's existence and engage with it in talks.

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Speaking in a National Day address which is likely to further anger China , Tsai Ing-wen acknowledged that ties between Taiwan and China in recent months had been bumpy.

"But we will not bow to pressure, and we will of course not revert to the old path of confrontation," she said at a ceremony outside the presidential offices in central Taipei attended by 11,000 people, including more than 360 foreign guests.

China should "face up to the reality" of the Taiwanese government's existence and of the island's democracy, Ms Tsai said, adding the two sides should "sit down and talk as soon as possible".

China claims Taiwan is its own territory, to be brought under its control by force if necessary.

Ms Tsai's election in January upended Beijing's strategy of using economic inducements to convince Taiwanese that political unification is not only inevitable but also in their best interests.

In her address she said her government wanted to maintain the status quo - referring to the state of tense but stable peace and robust economic exchanges between the sides.

However, China has said it is not satisfied with that position and demands she endorse Beijing's formulation that the two are part of a single Chinese nation.

AP

Press Association

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